Rock, Visionary or Maverick? Assessing people management behaviours

Newsletter articles

1 Jan 2012

HR Insight Issue 14

Dilys Robinson, Principal Research Fellow

Dilys RobinsonIn just about every organisation, people are promoted to their managerial positions because they are good at their job. Being a manager, however, means managing other people, an activity requiring a set of skills and behaviours that might be very different from those previously used to ensure success. This is an obvious statement, and one that every HR manager, harassed by having to deal with yet another grievance or badlymanaged disciplinary, is well aware of – yet organisations persist in promoting high performers with little or no prior training in people management or advice about the behaviours to adopt.

IES is using the evidence gathered in our ‘Engaging Manager’ research to develop a 360° assessment tool which will enable managers to increase their understanding of their management style, and advise them which behaviours to adopt (and which to drop) in order to engage, motivate and inspire their teams to perform well. The method is a fairly standard 360° approach. Firstly, the manager, the team, the manager’s own manager, and a small number of colleagues, complete a questionnaire. The next step is the analysis of the results, and finally the production of a report for the manager. The report shows how the manager ‘scores’ on different behaviour groups, and how his/her self-assessment varies from that of the team and colleagues. It also describes the engaging (and disengaging) manager types which the manager most resembles. Most importantly of all, it shows the manager which behaviours to adopt in order to improve, in terms of quick wins and more ambitious targets.

So far, we have tested our approach in two member organisations, Centrica (British Gas) and Family Action, and would like to thank the managers who bravely volunteered. It works on paper, so our next step is to create and test an electronic version. We will be looking for more volunteers!

For more information, contact Dilys Robinson: email, or telephone 01273 763 448.

Four follow-up reports to our Engaging Manager research will be published soon. Visit for more details.